NY Times: Disabled Students Spanked More

12 Aug

An article in the NY Times from two days ago reports on a study that shows that in states where corporal punishment is allowed, disabled students are punished more than their non-disabled peers.

This is based on a study by Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union.

The report, based on federal Department of Education data, said that of the 223,190 public school students nationwide who were paddled during the 2006-7 school year, at least 41,972, or about 19 percent, were students with disabilities, who make up 14 percent of all students.

The study is online

In one state, Tennessee, disabled students were punished more than twice as often as their non-disabled peers.

Two examples from the report:

The ACLU and Human Rights Watch received numerous reports of students who were punished for the consequences of their disability. Many of the cases involved students with autism, who were physically punished for exhibiting behaviors common to children on the autism spectrum. Some parents reported that school staff did not take their children’s conditions under consideration when administering discipline. Students are being beaten for behavior they simply cannot control, or cannot reasonably be expected to control, a grossly disproportionate and fundamentally demeaning response to the child’s condition.


Despite this medical and scientific evidence, the ACLU and Human Rights Watch received numerous reports of children with autism who were punished because of their behavior. Sharon H., the mother of a girl with autism in Georgia, described her daughter’s experience: “One time, she was just sitting, rocking side-by-side in the gym. That’s what autistic kids do. She was five at the time. The fourth-grade teacher grabbed her and dragged her across the floor.”[136] Another kindergarten girl with autism in Georgia was thrown into a wall after she started rocking and spinning at the same time.[137]

Much of these statements are anecdotal and unanswered by the school system. And, yet, they are very serious and, let’s face it, not unlike what we have all heard (and some seen firsthand).

2 Responses to “NY Times: Disabled Students Spanked More”

  1. Synesthesia August 12, 2009 at 23:55 #

    FIVE!? That’s just wrong and cruel.

    Something needs to be done, but I’m not sure what. It would be nice if spanking and stuff was banned altogether in schools.

  2. Patrick August 14, 2009 at 17:50 #

    Sad that kids just being themselves are corporally punished.

    Why do these adults feel the need to resort to violence? Do they have a problem communicating with those who have communication problems? If so, should they be given some sensitivity training?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: